For his part, UD senior Jymere Stillis-Stanford is aspiring to become the next Kelley Drukker, a vice president with A&E Networks and a 1994 graduate of UD. Having recently applied for a job at this company, Stillis-Stanford sat at attention when it was Drukker’s turn to share her wisdom with the group: “Folks just coming into the workforce don’t want to speak up,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s a lack of confidence or feeling as though they don’t have a seat at the table. Just know, you have a voice. Use it.”
Unfortunately, as Drukker spoke these words, Stillis-Stanford received a rejection letter via email — from Drukker’s company. Rather than feel discouraged, he took the day’s advice to heart and advocated for himself. After the panel discussion, he introduced himself, explained the situation, and — just maybe — earned a foot in the door.
“I told her about the rejection, and that I’m still waiting to hear about two other positions at the company,” Stillis-Stanford said. “She told me to email her directly, which I’m going to do as soon as we get home. It’s perfect timing. I am blessed to be here.”
This feeling of gratitude seemed to permeate the rest of the afternoon and, later, the bus ride home.
“I serve tables at a diner, and customers always ask me what I’m studying,” said Delaney Tierney, a senior in the spring semester. “When I tell them, ‘communication,’ they are skeptical about my prospects. But the thing that really stuck me today is how many avenues are available to someone with this degree.”
It’s a realization that will, for many attendees, reinvigorate job searching efforts — first thing in the morning.
“I’m excited to put all this knowledge to good use,” said Gayle, the communication major who was then still recovering from her study abroad jetlag. As she spoke, she rested her head against a window. “As soon as I get a good night’s sleep.”
Article by Diane Stopyra; photos by Evan Krape
Published July 31, 2020